Navigating the glass labyrinth: Addressing gender diversity in Australian and New Zealand representative radiology leadership

J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2023 Mar;67(2):155-161. doi: 10.1111/1754-9485.13480. Epub 2022 Oct 6.


Introduction: Gender inequity among representative leadership in Clinical Radiology is a global issue, with the lack of gender diversity in leadership even more marked when compared to workforce representation. Women leaders face a disproportionate magnitude of seen and unseen challenges to leadership engagement and progression when compared to men (a 'glass labyrinth'), which is likely contributing to this discrepancy. The aim of the study was to examine and reflect on the state of gender diversity in representative leadership within the RANZCR Faculty of Clinical Radiology.

Methods: Review of the 2021 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) Board, Clinical Radiology Faculty Council and local Branch Committees with regard to the numbers of women and men in representative roles.

Results: In 2021, the RANZCR Board had no women representatives from Clinical Radiology (one woman representative from Radiation Oncology). 1/5 Clinical Radiology Faculty Council office Bearers were women. Local Branch Committees had 16.3% (13/80) women representatives. Three branches (the NSW, ACT and Victorian branches) had no women representatives. There were no women Committee Chairs, Branch Secretaries or Treasurers, with 2/7 Branch Education Officers women.

Conclusion: The issues underpinning gender inequality in representative leadership are complex and diverse, resulting in disproportionate losses of women radiologists along the leadership pathway compared to men. Unconscious biases, including assumptions of inferior capability, capacity and credibility among women radiologist leaders, create unique challenges at organisational, institutional and personal levels. Change cannot be achieved by passive momentum alone: concrete initiatives and active engagement are required. To improve leadership diversity, strategies must be multifaceted and supported at an organisational level.

Keywords: equality; gender diversity; leadership; radiology; representation.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Radiologists
  • Radiology*